April 30, 2008

Americans, Americans

Definitely a British production. Though I am not sure if this survey was conducted in any other country the results would have been any different. But point is, I guess, that no other country assumes that BIG brother attitude, does it?

April 29, 2008


Made a new friend on facebook. Her status says:

S... is twittering: my nightmare: wedding day; at altar about to say 'I do'; but lisp code errors: "310 IS NOT A LIST" +> segfault that destroys the world :(.

:D :D :D

As we are talking about nightmares..I lived through one this sunday. I arranged Baby Shower for a very good friend of mine. The day started with my alarm clock breaking down in night while I was sleeping. So I got up 1.5 hrs later than I planned to, obviously in a state of panic. 15 mins into the day, I realized I need to go to the office to pick up my camera. Rushed there first, came back and started working like crazy because as usual, everyone coming for the potluck party has decided to either get dessert or drinks or cake but no substantial food (why do they do that?).

So I started cooking. Middle of making the Tava fry (after cooking 1.5 aalos (Potatoes) for an hour), I realized the instruction on the Tava Fry Masala said "NOT" to put any salt in it. Obviously I had put substantial amount of salt in it and it was inedible even though they were perfectly crisped. Threw that in the dustbin. Started the new batch. Realized that the spice is at its last stage. Can't do anything...so made whatever I could

Next came Pakoris (My friend loves those s had to make it). Moment I opened the container, I realized that I need to buy some besan! Made few pakoris from whatever besan was left in the container. By that time, guests started arriving. The first few of them have to actually clean up my living room for the party!! What a great hostess I am! Poor girls.

Finally came the cake and I realize that the decoration I have put on for her had the Baby's name spelled wrong! Cherry of the Cake!

Never thought so many things can go wrong in a single day!! Anyways, we did end up having some fun and that was the whole point, right?

April 25, 2008

Doing Nothing...

...is a full-fledged task. Today I decided to do that task. I am at home and doing nothing. Honestly nothing. Not even sleeping or reading or arranging something or the other or cleaning up or browsing net or reading. Absolutely nothing. You have no idea how hard it is to do nothing. The guilt inside keep telling me to get up from bed and start working on something. But I am NOT working today. Period. It actually get a bit boring after a while and obviously thats why I am here writing this piece about doing nothing. But then I have nothing to write about. I did NOTHING. I went NOWHERE. I have NOTHING interesting to share. Except its an interesting lethargic state to be in...try it out some time..

April 23, 2008

Just a quick note...

... to say that the blogger in me has been twisting and turning, itching very badly to write a post a day but somehow these deadlines keep passing me with speed of light (actually its speed of time but that too is catching up with speed of light these days..). I am just trying to catch up with them. But as you can guess by number, length and frequency of last three posts, I desperately miss blogging. So I will try to sneak few moments everyday so that I don't bombard you with loads of post like today!

Ph.D. Comics strikes again..

The latest Ph.D. comic strip is so to the point, well as usual. Check it out:

(source: Ph.D. Comics by Jorge Cham)

I can actually categorize most of my friend's profile picture on facebook in one of these categories. But as they say, exceptions are always there. The exceptions here can be divided in two categories: First are the ones who don't put a profile picture at all (Question mark perfectly represents my face as well as my state of mind, why change?). Second category belongs to friends who put a scenic image instead of their picture (Hey I think I am that beautiful, why spoil that illusion by putting an actual picture of me)...

This is Stanfy-news channel...

So I was sitting on a bench in the patio of our office building, talking to a friend on my brand new cell phone. Oh yes, see I haven't been blogging regularly and so you don't know that I left my dear old cell phone in London and was compelled to buy a new cell phone after three years. My old phone was so old that when I went to buy the charger for the phone (as my old charger finally gave up on me), they had to go into their ware house to fetch one. And this was six months ago. But I still didn't give it up. I lost that cell phone three times and it always found its way back to me. Guess no one wants to keep it.

Anyways, I digress. The story was that I was talking to a friend on my cell phone, oh sorry, correction, my brand new cell phone. All of sudden a squirrel jumped off the tree above me and ran across. I saw her and thought, if I hadn't been talking on the phone, I could have taken a picture of the squirrel using the phone camera. the very next moment I realized that if I hadn't been talking on the phone, I wouldn't have been sitting here, watching her go by, anyways. So I saw her play around a bit and then disappear behind the pillars of the building. I, once again, got lost in my conversation.

Some time later, I saw the same squirrel come running from behind the pillars and she seem to have something in her mouth. Being an easily distracted grad student I am, I again lost track of the conversation and started watching her instead. From a distance the thing in her mouth seemed like a branch and I wondered why would she carry a branch? She came closer and I thought that branch is actually a bone but again, what will a squirrel do with a bone? She came even closer and I saw that bone had some leftover meat on the sides. hmmm...lunch? But aren't squirrel supposed to be vegetarian? Don't they store and eat nuts (remember sabre toothed squirrel from Ice-Age (the movie yaar, Ice-Age, the movie))? Anyway, so I shared my thoughts with my friend on the phone. She agreed with me. And then she went a step further, tried to reason out the behavior from different perspective. It was quite interesting analysis, which actually gave me an idea for this post.

So in case there was a news reporter near-by capturing the story, the report could be something like this:

Squirrel turns Non-vegetarian!

Today afternoon, a common tree squirrel was seen nibbling on a left-over bone in Stanford campus. The news has generated waves through out the area. Different sects have come out with different explanation for the phenomenon.

Scientists think its a natural way of evolution. The progress of species depends on its adaptability with the surrounding environment. Hence, its natural for a squirrel living in close proximity of predominantly meat eating human populace to turn to non-vegetarian meals.

Defying these logics, the politicians of the area blame this phenomenon to illegal immigrants. They are demanding to fence the US borders so that immigrants from Asia can't cross over to U.S. of A. and steal the jobs of legal citizens. According to them, legal citizens of US have right to the jobs. The employers have no right to discriminate them based on their qualifications and efficiency.

The local clergy has declared that End of the world is near. According to the official release issued by the local church, we should all ask for forgiveness for sins that we have committed; for sins we didn't commit but thought of committing; for sins we could have committed; for sins we might commit in future (given we live through end of the world); for sins our family, our neighbors and our friends committed, for sins our ancestors committed; for sins our successor would have committed if they had born; for sins that were ever committed in the world and for sins that were never committed.

The local fanatic sects have proclaimed that world is no longer fit for living. Hence we should all live in a parallel world achievable by means of few unprintable drugs. The local police have announced that any illegal activity will be punishable by law and miscreants will be arrested.

The environmentalist groups have stated that global warming is responsible for such an unusual phenomenon. They blamed government and all the industries for being insatiable. "The nature has its own way of repaying", the spokesperson told the correspondent on the site. "The unbridled consumption, economic growth, materialism, insensitive development, and booming human numbers have an adverse effect on nature and hence is causing global warming."

The Animal Lover Association has released a press release stating that this phenomenon should be regarded as atrocity against animals and hence all the meat consumption in the area should be stopped immediately. They have also submitted a petition signed by 43 people to the Mayor demanding the same. No one was available at the Mayor's office for comments on the subject of this petition.

However, a brief official release from the Mayor's office has asked public to remain calm and not flee from the area. A proper official announcement will be made in the evening.

Anyways, this was my afternoon adventure. Hope you had as much fun reading this piece as I had writing it. More interesting reports to come from the desk of your favorite self-appointed reporter...

April 20, 2008

KML Editor

I don't know many people who actually work on kml files (Google Earth files) but I know quite a few people do work on it as there is an abundance of them on the internet. I am new at this so have been struggling a bit for past few days.

Anyway, in case you ever decide to make a presentation using Google Earth, which by the way rocks, here is a link for a free (and only, I think) kml editor. This good soul, bless him (or her), created this editor (and it actually works!) and have put it on web for free. Its not perfect, I agree but it so much better than the hassle of writing everything down in the notepad. You have no idea how painful it is to put tags every time you want to start a new line or want words to be bold or italicized (See how easily I can do it here!). It feels like stone age! Honestly. This editor brings me back to computer era, at least, though not to the nano-decade. Anyway, thanks again to whoever designed this editor and saved a week of my life!

April 18, 2008


...can be very sickening. I am sick of being sick now. Its been more than 3 weeks that I have been sick. Its no fun, I tell you. I have two presentation due next week and I am feeling so tired all the time. I need to prepare for my blue belt test (Kenpo Karate, remember I do that too?) and I can't seem to get out of bed. Life is no fun when you want to work and can't. Imagine even coke doesn't keep me from sleeping these days. Caffeine (coke is only way I take caffeine) has no effect on me anymore! Can someone tell me how to get over this never ending exhaustion?

April 14, 2008

Too fast...

As I can't stop telling everyone, I went to *Europe* for my spring break. And there are quiet a few things I wanted to blog about when I was there but the crazy schedule we had, it became impossible for me to do so. Anyway, I kept the ideas at the back of my mind so that I have something to blog abt once I am back.

Let me start with the disclaimer: I don't mean to criticize Europe. I am sure it happens everywhere in the world. Its just my perception that I am writing about. And let me also confess that I had loads of fun in Europe. I met few very cool people with extremely nice sense of humor and very kind hearts. Those incidents will also find their way into this blog with time.

The issue of this post is the rush. Two places where I used public transport a lot were London and Paris. They both have fantastic public transport system: Tube and Metro. Usually there is a train every 5 mins. in London and every 2 mins. in Paris as opposed to our old bay area with caltrain frequency of half an hour. With that high frequency of trains, you would think that missing a train wouldn't be a big deal. But no. People actually rush to catch the train which is just about to leave. They actually run and push to catch the train! I can understand if people rush here to catch the train as they have to wait for 30 minutes for next one. But for 5 minutes or 2 minutes? Whats the hurry? Does it even matter?

There were times when I actually wanted to scream and say "STOP". Why are you running? Where are you running? Whats the hurry?

Though if you think about it, don't you get the same feeling for life too. It seems to run so quickly that I don't even get time to react. And I want to again scream "STOP". Don't rush. Let me live. Let me enjoy. Let me feel.

But then may be, I am just not a cut out for a big city. I am a small town person who wants to remember each and every moment of the life: good or bad. Atleast till my memory card starts screaming: 'out of memory'...

April 13, 2008

Photo time

No No, I didn't disappear again. Just trying to get in the schedule again. Fever and jet-lag doesn't help. I will be back with more and soon...

Enjoy this till then...

Its a shot from inside of La Madeleine Church in Paris. Doesn't this look like Diwali?

April 9, 2008

Cold kya?

I just finished uploading few pictures on Facebook (I know, I know. I should be resting instead of this but it was a long pending job). I have approximately 1800 pictures from my Euro trip. I already have 3 albums in the Facebook (limit for number of photos in Facebook album is 60 photos each) and I haven't yet started my pics from Scotland and London.

Anyway, as I was browsing through these endless pictures, I revisited this particular picture. I thought this to be cute when I took it bt now I wonder if these poor kids are cold and trying to make themselves warm? Your thoughts?

Deadlines and fever

...are not good combination. I am down with a throat infection and hence high fever. To top it, I am still jet-lagged so I wake up at 2 AM and then 4 AM every night (if you call AM hours as night). And then I had a deadline of submitting a 4-page extended abstract by 5 PM Central time (which is 2 hours earlier than Pacific time, which means I had to submit by 3 PM my time) today. The worst possible combination, if you ask me.

I have no idea what I wrote in that paper, oh sorry the extended abstract. I am 100% certain its going to be rejected. Actually I have been wondering why they call it extended abstract? Its a full fledged paper, if you ask me (well sadly no one asks me but then thats why I have this blog). Just because they want everything to be squeezed in 4 pages doesn't make it an abstract. Actually its worse, as you need to squeeze a 10-15 page paper in those 4 pages. Very unfair, if you ask me (ok. Some body. Ask me.). Its not a simple abstract where you can just submit the summary of your work with no figures and references and its not a paper where you can explain your work at your leisure with 'all' the figures. So you are stuck somewhere in middle trying to figure out how to condense your one year's work in those four pages. And fever don't help either. Anyways, finally its done and submitted. And as I said, there is a large probability that it will be rejected. But at least I tried.

Did I tell you why I wanted to submit this paper, ooops, I mean extended abstract? Hey you never asked me. The conference is to be held in LAS VEGAS this November. Now who would want to miss the chance like that?

Anyway, now thats done, I can go back to my nice warm bed and sleep for a while. And thanks all for your get well wishes. Hey that was the point of the post, wasn't it? Getting some sympathy, some attention. Now I can sleep peacefully...ciao.

PS: Don't mind the ramble. I am known to do that when I have high fever. It some how affects the brain, I guess.

April 8, 2008

And I am back...

...I think. well the break involved few deadlines, a Euro trip, finding a new room-mate and having loads of fun. So I am back refreshed and ready to roll though I have few deadlines pending and I am still severely jet-lagged and sick. But guess thats part of life.

Anyway, so the first thing I found when I entered the kitchen on Sunday after my 3-week long euro-trip (my new room-mate moved in during this duration), a coffee mug with inscription:

"Stress is my life...
Take your relaxed attitude somewhere else!"

I knew I will get along this girl when I first met her, now its official. More later...have to submit a paper tomorrow and another one in two days...Stressful days are back!